Running backs coach Ryan Held has all of the players in his room on campus for spring ball. It’s the first that that’s happened since he’s been at Nebraska. It’s a welcome sight for Held too. He’s not having to wait on a player or two to arrive in the summer this year.
Because of that, he can really get his players up to speed quickly. There is a lot to work with in the running back room. It’s a talented group, even if it doesn’t have much on game experience at Nebraska so far.
Whoever starts for Nebraska this year will be a first-year starter with the Huskers. There will be a transition from two-year starter Dedrick Mills. The competition will be ongoing through this spring and likely into the fall.
One of those competitions for the time is true freshman Gabe Ervin who early enrolled.
The Georgia native was one of the least talked about recruits in the 2021 recruiting class. Even though he was the lone running back in the class, he just seemed to fly under the radar. Now Held has seen him through winter conditioning and the first week of spring practice. The coach likes what he sees so far.
“He’s got really good vision and he’s really smooth in what he does,” Held said. “He’s slippery. He can get through there on different things, he catches the ball well. It means something to him. He wants to be really, really good. He’s mad when doesn’t execute a play right and that’s what I want. I want guys where it bothers the heck out of you if you don’t do it right.”
Check out this clip from Ervin’s senior film. It shows the type of slippery running style that Held was talking about.
Ervin is a player that the Huskers were high on for more than just his on-field skills. Yes, he is a talented runner. He also ran a verified 22.51 in the 200m dash back in 2019. The intangibles and maturity that he brings will also serve him well as he gets used to college football.
“We saw him the last spring where we were able to see during players in an evaluation period,” Held said. But we had a great relationship with his family, great relationship with him. He’s a great kid. He does great the classroom so far. He’s put on eight pounds, I think, since he’s been here. He’s long and he’s a guy that can run.”
The battle for carries this fall is wide open. The coaching staff has already mentioned that more production is needed from the backs. It will help take pressure off quarterback Adrian Martinez running the football.
The early returns on Ervin give the feel he has a chance to be part of the mix this fall.
Greg is the Recruiting Analyst for Hail Varsity and has covered Husker athletics since 2013. He has always had a passion for sports while growing up in the Chicago area. As he got older and had to hang up his cleats and sneakers, he realized his passion for sports went beyond just watching and attending games. He has covered many events from the Rose Bowl to championship boxing matches. If he’s not talking sports, he’s hovering over his grill. He is married to an amazing woman, Kim, and they have a dog that barks when Greg yells at the TV during games.